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OR&R Marine Debris Program Celebrates Earth Day

APRIL 27, 2018 — On April 20 and 21, Marine Debris Program staff attended cleanup and outreach events in honor of Earth Day across the country.

Hands holding three painted plates.
A child shows off their marine debris themed buttons created at the Moloka‘i Earth Day Celebration. Image credit: NOAA.

In Hawaii, Shanelle Naone, Outreach and Communications Coordinator for the Marine Debris Program’s Pacific Island Region, traveled to Moloka‘i to participate in the Moloka‘i Earth Day Celebration, held at the Mitchell Pau‘ole Community Center and sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. The Moloka‘i Earth Day Celebration provides an important opportunity for NOAA to share its mission of science, service, and stewardship, and brought together NOAA staff from the Marine Debris Program, Office for Coastal Management, Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, National Weather Service, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

In Washington, Nir Barnea, Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator, joined the GrassRoots Garbage Gang for their 50th community organized beach cleanup, and marked the incredible achievement and dedication of the volunteers that comprise the GrassRoots Garbage Gang . The event was part of a larger volunteer effort by CoastSavers on that day, to remove marine debris from the Pacific Coast and the Straits of Juan de Fuca in Washington State. One of the more hazardous items of marine debris found during the event was a large bundle of looped packing straps, a major culprit and marine mammals entanglement. Off the beach now, it is no longer a hazard.

Demi Fox, Northeast Regional Coordinator, participated in The Great Gloucester Cleanup hosted by Clean Gloucester in Gloucester, MA. More than 200 volunteers took to six locations across Gloucester for the event, working together to fill dumpsters and recycling bins with plastic bottles, straws, wrappers, cigarette butts, and fishing rope. A few beach goers noticed the cleanup as they were taking their morning walks. They soon began to spot trash in the sand and run over to add it to the growing collection.

Sarah Latshaw, Southeast Regional Coordinator recently in an Earth Day Celebration on Kiawah Island, SC. The event was hosted by the Kiawah Conservancy, an organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of Kiawah Island's natural resources through research and education.  The celebration included ladybug releases in demonstration gardens, native plants and farm fresh vegetables sales, art and photography strolls, snake exhibits, and of course, marine debris related activities.  

Action inspires action. You don't need to wait until Earth Day comes around to have a positive impact on our environment. By working to refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle every day and through these outstanding volunteer and outreach efforts across the United States and worldwide, that we can help address this issue.

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Six people posing for photo.
Keolohilani H. Lopes Jr., Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument; Shanelle Naone, Marine Debris Program; Charles Woodrum, National Weather Service; Gretchen M. Chiques, Office for Coastal Management; Cindi Preller, NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center; and John Bravendem NWS Weather Forecast Office were brought together on Moloka’i for the Earth Day Celebration. Image credit: NOAA.
Man with debris standing by back of car.
Russ Lewis, a year-round marine debris cleanup volunteer, with the packing straps bundle removed from the beach. Image credit: NOAA.
Three people standing at a table.
Nir Barnea, Annissa Coy, and Russ Lewis at the marine debris information booth. Image credit: NOAA.
An exhibit table outdoors.
: The Marine Debris Program’s table at the Kiawah Island Earth Day event in South Carolina. Image credit: NOAA.